Bob tuite isn’t the only one in his house who had to alter his schedule when he retired. His dog, Max, had to make some changes, too.

“I used to let him out every morning at 5:45, and on my last day of work I said to him, ‘Listen buddy, you had better not wake me up tomorrow morning at this time to go out,’” Tuite says.

Plan before you have to

Tuite, 66, retired from his role as a maintenance repairman for Elizabeth Forward School District in fall 2013. Like anyone about to retire, he had a lot of questions.

“On the financial end, I asked myself if I was going to be able to live the same way that I had lived while I was working,” he says.

Another concern was his medical coverage. Even though he was eligible for Medicare and Medicaid, Tuite had to determine which type of supplemental care he would purchase.

While he was making his decisions, Tuite found it helpful to talk to others who had been through the process. He also attended a couple of informational seminars.

“Various seminars are offered through different groups, and I found them to be helpful. There are numerous seminars available through the union, and other organizations and even the library,” he says.

While he investigated his options, Tuite discovered there were many soon- to-be or even already retired people who were “in the dark.” This surprised him, since he had been planning for some time.

“If you think you are going to retire— even 15 or 20 years out—you should start planning. I had worked with a financial planner for years, so I knew I would be OK financially,” he says.

Too much time on their hands

While exploring health care options, Tuite weighed the various plans, especially dental and eye care coverage. And he started to think about the free time that he would now have.

A widower, Tuite was worried that he would find he had too much time on his hands.

“You know your life is going to change, but I’m not sure you can plan how much it will change,” he says.

That was also one of the major worries for Helen “Dee” Spade. Spade, 67, retired in summer 2013 from the North Hills School District, where she worked as a custodian.

“One of the first things I would recommend is to have a good idea of what you are going to do with your time after you retire,” Spade says. “What are you going to be involved with? What do you really want to do?”

Spade’s husband owns a catering com- pany, and she assists him occasionally. She also works out three days per week, but says she is still “finding her way” when it comes to her free time.

“I was thinking I would volunteer, but I still haven’t decided where I want to volunteer,” she says.

Like Tuite, she examined her financial and health care situations, and made choices she thought were best for her. She also attended a few informational seminars to help her verify her choices.

Neither Tuite nor Spade had to make housing decisions, knowing they would stay in their current homes. But it might be a consideration for others who are retiring, and might like to downsize or move to a new area.

Old friends and new schedules

Retirement has allowed Tuite and Spade free time to pursue things that they were too busy to do while working. Tuite has become reacquainted with fellow veterans he served with, and went to Florida to visit with four of his old buddies in February.

“I met up with guys I hadn’t seen in 43 years. I hope to go to Las Vegas in the summer, where one of them lives,” he says.

Tuite also enjoys bowling in the winter and golfing in warmer weather, and like Spade, he joined a health club and works out several times each week. He also spends time with his daughter and her husband, and meets up with friends once per week. And of course, he has Max.

“He is my buddy. We spend a lot of time together,” Tuite says.

Spade has more time to spend with her five grandchildren, and still serves on the Allegheny County Schools Health Insurance Consortium Board of Trustees, something she really enjoys. She has also started planning her schedule for the next day the night before.

“I realized I’m the type of person who needs structure, so I’ve created my own structure,” she says.

Spade says one negative aspect of retirement is that she no longer has contact with her co-workers and the students in her building at North Hills.

“I miss my friends; I miss the kids. If you work in a school, you see the kids every day, and I really miss them,” she says.